Maheen Khan recalls dressing Benazir Bhutto in her iconic green and white oath ceremony outfit

Veteran designer took to Instagram to reminisce

The late two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan became the first Pakistani personality to be added to Madame Tussauds’ lengthy roster of celebrities and prominent personalities that have been immortalized in wax form and put on display for public viewing at many of the museum’s locations across the world.

Maheen Khan, who has dressed many celebrities and politicians over the course of her illustrious and prolific career as a fashion designer, shared a picture of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto as he stood smiling next to his mother’s wax figure and accompanied the post with a lengthy caption.

The designer recalled getting a call from Benazir herself, who wanted to commission her to design an outfit for her to wear to her first oath-taking ceremony as Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988. “It was some time In November 1988 that I got a call from Benazir Bhutto. She had just had Bilawal and she had won the elections!” recalled Maheen. Rushing over to Benazir’s residence, Maheen understood Benazir’s understated style and preference for minimal, yet sophisticated attire and designed an outfit comprising a simple monochromatic shalwar kameez and plain dupatta.

Benazir’s vision was to wear the color of her country’s flag to visually consolidate her image as the head of the state and Maheen designed for her a green kameez and shalwar duo in what appeared to be a glistening satin. The ace designer added to Benazir’s vision and convinced her to pair the outfit with a white dupatta to fully tie in the look with the green-and-white Pakistani flag.

For the dupatta, she chose a muslin fabric over chiffon because she believed the former would drape well in Benazir’s signature style of wearing her dupatta over her head and draped down and across her torso. “She needed something green to wear to her swearing-in ceremony,” reminisced the couturier. “I convinced her to wear a white dupatta, which I got her. I decided immediately that chiffon wouldn’t do so I got her a soft muslin which would drape well.”

Maheen also revealed that she later got a call from Benazir informing her that she had donated the bespoke outfit to Madame Tussauds Museum with the designer’s tag still on it. “Years later, she rang to say she had given the outfit to Madame Tussauds.’ The Maheen label is still on it,’ she said. The white dupatta has since become the signature of every female politician.” Ending her walk down memory lane with a touch of fond nostalgia, Maheen wrote, “Magical memories of an amazing, warm, affectionate woman. Rest in peace.”

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